Monday, July 23, 2012

Mojo Hand One Ton Bee Review

A few weeks ago, I picked up the new Mojo Hand FX One Ton Bee fuzz. It’s their take on the Mosrite Fuzzrite circuit – a fuzz I’ve always wanted to try. I’ve been really happy with prior Mojo Hand fuzzes (the Huckleberry and Colossus are my favorite Fuzz Face and Big Muff), so I figured I had nothing to lose.

Aesthetically speaking, the Bee is one of the best looking pedals I’ve seen this year. It has a great yellow anodized aluminum case with a surfing bee.  Really, you can’t go wrong with a surfing bee. And while the name and graphic are clearly an ode to 1000 Lb. Bee by the Ventures, they are also indicative of the furious buzzing fuzz tone generated from within.

Plugging into the Bee, it’s not a smooth or friendly fuzz. It’s gritty, nasally, and jagged. But that’s the point. I hit the low E string and enjoyed the gritty overtones and slow decay. I immediately had to play the riff to Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum. The One Ton Bee nailed it. The other song the Bee makes me think of is Wheels by Gram Parsons. It sounds just like the nasty fuzz on the chorus that plays the single notes at the end of each line. It’s almost like a baritone sax tone on the low notes. It’s such a cool sound that other fuzzes can’t do.

Hitting the Bee with a Tele bridge pickup makes for a slicing tone that could cut through any mix. It reminded me of those old Ennio Morricone spaghetti western tones. It’s not a sound that’s going to fit on every song, but it’s just perfect for some parts. For my own preferences, with the tele, I backed my tone knob back about 30% which provided a perfect balance of thickness and cut.
With humbuckers, the Bee is thick but still piercing. Single notes jump out and chords have ring mod-like buzzy overtones. Rolling back the volume on the guitar makes things a little less fuzzy and reduces the overtones, but it certainly doesn’t clean things up. Rolling back on the tone and volume and playing single notes provides a synthy square wave tone

I wouldn’t recommend the One Ton Bee for a first fuzz pedal. And if you want smooth fuzz, I’d recommend a Muff or Fuzz Face clone. But if you’re ready to broaden your horizons and explore the grittier side of fuzz, I welcome you to feel the sting of the One Ton Bee.

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